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Greg Olsen Was Almost a Chicago Bear in 2020

In a recent interview, Greg Olsen said the Chicago Bears expressed serious interest in him before ultimately signing Jimmy Graham in 2020.

Greg Olsen Bears
Photo: Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Greg Olsen is a sore spot for Chicago Bears fans. The Bears drafted Olsen 31st overall in 2007 and expected him to be a franchise piece to build around for years to come. It was evident Olsen was a stud early in his career, but he especially excelled in 2009 when Jay Culter joined the Bears. Olsen had a career-high eight touchdowns that season.

Enter Mike Martz, one of the many offensive coordinators in former head coach Lovie Smith’s Rolodex of OC’s. Martz brought his philosophy from St. Louis that helped him win a Super Bowl with his high-flying offense that coined the nickname “The Greatest Show On Turf”. It made sense, right? The Bears had a quarterback with a cannon in Jay Cutler and a modern-day Marshall Faulk in Matt Forte. Sure, they needed some wide receivers, but Jerry Angelo was going to figure it all out. The only problem was, Mike Martz’s offense didn’t use a tight end, and since the Bears were Super Bowl-bound you might as well trade Greg Olsen for a third-rounder and get some value in return, right?

The Bears did trade Olsen to the Carolina Panthers for a third-round pick, but it was Greg Olsen and the Panthers who appeared in a Super Bowl. Olsen went on to enjoy a long and productive career while the Bears proceeded to fire Jerry Angelo a year later and ultimately bottomed out into a full rebuild in 2015. Trading Greg Olsen for a third-round pick was one of the worst moves the Chicago Bears made in my lifetime.

Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Olsen recently appeared in an interview on Pardon My Take, where he dropped a couple of interesting nuggets for Bears fans. He talked about how he’s liked the Chicago Bears since the regime that traded him was no longer at Halas Hall. Olsen also said he was in close discussions with Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace about possibly joining the Bears in 2020.

“We talked for like 45 minutes on the phone and they’re asking me questions about routes and what kinds of systems have you played in? Would you be comfortable with code words vs. digits? What did you do on your backside routes? What was your leverage reads, ya know all this stuff. So I hang up, I said to my wife, I’m like babe, I think they really like me and wanna sign me. How cool would it be if life came full circle and we could finish up my career back in Chicago, that would be so sick right? So I got myself all excited. Long story short, they were like we don’t have enough money so I go and sign with Seattle. Day one of fucking free agency they sign Jimmy Graham. I said what the fuck? And they paid him more than I wanted!”

– Greg Olsen on Pardon My Take

Going through the emotions of that interview was entertaining to say the least. It wasn’t bitter, but more of a “Damn, they did it again” scenario. Even though the Bears missing out on him in 2020 wasn’t an egregious mistake like the 2011 trade was, it still would have been nice to see Greg Olsen back in navy and orange wearing #82 for one more season.


Host and lead contributor for Bears OnTap. If you cut me open, you'll see orange and blue flowing out of my veins. I live for Chicago Sports, but I'd trade 1 Super Bowl for ten championships in any other sport. Daaaa Bears!!

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